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Is Google killing general knowledge?


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#1
Greki

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Today I read a very interesting article. I do not entirely agree with it, considering that my habit of reading was formed thanks to the Internet, but I must say that I used to be better in math when I wasn't allowed to use a calculator.

But what do you think?

Is Google Killing General Knowledge?

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#2
computerxpds

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but I must say that I used to be better in math when I wasn't allowed to use a calculator.

But what do you think?

Is Google Killing General Knowledge?


Well think of it this way you use a calculator as a shortcut to figure out a math problem just as one would use google as a shortcut to putting in random URL's to find the website that they are looking for or going to wikipedia and searching it there ETC..

So yes I think that "the Google" is somewhat killing general knowledge but if there was no google then how would anyone get site traffic? Or for that matter even want to use the web. Although I think that google is taking over the web market with their products but that is for another thread. :)
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#3
epics

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I would trust the answer from A calculator before someone with a pencil and paper.
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#4
dsenette

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“Facts per se aren’t off the agenda, but we need to teach skills,” says Fann. “It’s a matter of balance. For a long time we had a purely knowledge-based curriculum; now we need to develop skills.”

Put like that it seems sensible enough, but it does suggest that schools are encouraging the idea that knowing stuff is less important than being able to look it up.

i think i like this part of that whole article the most...

simply knowing something (i.e. general knowledge) isn't really going to help you in anything but a pub quiz or a conversation revolving around intellectual oneupmanship.

i've got a rather large tome of useless facts stored in my brain (thanks dad) but they don't actually help me do anything other than make small talk at parties or when playing trivial pursuit.

yes, using a calculator will probably make you MUCH less efficient at doing math by hand or in your head, but when using a calculator to do some difficult math problems you have to know the skill of using the calculator correctly to get the right answer. which is actually the same thing you had to learn to do it on paper, you had to learn the mathematical steps to get from A to B on paper, they're roughly the same skills as getting from A to B on a calculator. so it can be argued that you're ACTUALLY learning the same skills needed to do the math on paper, except that you're now able to eliminate the menial tasks involved in the process which actually enhances your knowledge by removing the bits that you don't really need to do anymore.

i don't need to know the population of Guatemala or their GDP on a daily basis, but, if there ever comes a time where i DO need to know that information, i know exactly how to get to that information. isn't it more important to know HOW to get information than it is to actually memorize the information?

if i don't know the answer to a question AND i don't know how to get the answer to the question then there's an issue, that's what you call ignorance.

now, this doesn't apply to not knowing things you SHOULD know. like north and south, which side the sun is supposed to rise on, stuff that makes a difference in daily life.

schools should be teaching skills, teaching you how to DO something, not teaching you how to know something
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#5
epics

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“Facts per se aren’t off the agenda, but we need to teach skills,” says Fann. “It’s a matter of balance. For a long time we had a purely knowledge-based curriculum; now we need to develop skills.”

Put like that it seems sensible enough, but it does suggest that schools are encouraging the idea that knowing stuff is less important than being able to look it up.

i think i like this part of that whole article the most...

simply knowing something (i.e. general knowledge) isn't really going to help you in anything but a pub quiz or a conversation revolving around intellectual oneupmanship.

i've got a rather large tome of useless facts stored in my brain (thanks dad) but they don't actually help me do anything other than make small talk at parties or when playing trivial pursuit.

yes, using a calculator will probably make you MUCH less efficient at doing math by hand or in your head, but when using a calculator to do some difficult math problems you have to know the skill of using the calculator correctly to get the right answer. which is actually the same thing you had to learn to do it on paper, you had to learn the mathematical steps to get from A to B on paper, they're roughly the same skills as getting from A to B on a calculator. so it can be argued that you're ACTUALLY learning the same skills needed to do the math on paper, except that you're now able to eliminate the menial tasks involved in the process which actually enhances your knowledge by removing the bits that you don't really need to do anymore.

i don't need to know the population of Guatemala or their GDP on a daily basis, but, if there ever comes a time where i DO need to know that information, i know exactly how to get to that information. isn't it more important to know HOW to get information than it is to actually memorize the information?

if i don't know the answer to a question AND i don't know how to get the answer to the question then there's an issue, that's what you call ignorance.

now, this doesn't apply to not knowing things you SHOULD know. like north and south, which side the sun is supposed to rise on, stuff that makes a difference in daily life.

schools should be teaching skills, teaching you how to DO something, not teaching you how to know something


I'm wondering if general knowledge is evolving, to me, using those graphing calculators is exponentially harder than learning math. Perhaps general knowledge these days is more of a tech type deal rather than what it used to be. [bleep] soon general knowledge might even include a programming language.
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#6
Greki

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you use a calculator as a shortcut to figure out a math problem just as one would use google as a shortcut


Yes, but what would happen if we didn't have either google nor the calculator? Wouldn't we lose the real skills over time if we always relayed on these shortcuts? Or rather, wouldn't we be advancing too fast?

I would trust the answer from A calculator before someone with a pencil and paper.


I'd probably trust the answer from a calculator too, but if we input the wrong data, then the calculator will be wrong too.

----

@dsenette: Yes, I actually agree that teaching skills is very important. If you have the theory but not the practice, you can't really see how anything actually works.

But this is trading skill for skill. In the case of the calculator, for example: If kids are allowed to use a calculator from a very young age, then they don't get the real mental practice to reason problems effectively. They'd skip and not master the basics if they use the calculator early on because then they wouldn't have enough practice since they'd probably be advancing at a faster pace than perhaps their maturity could let them absorb.

That's also a problem, as computerxpds said, the calculator and google serve as shortcuts. Amazing shortcuts, in fact. They're so good, that they let us see thousands of different results at once. We see them all at once and we go from one another so fast that perhaps our brain doesn't get the time to really absorb, store and organize the information that we are learning, thus we just fragmented information.

I'm wondering if general knowledge is evolving, to me, using those graphing calculators is exponentially harder than learning math. Perhaps general knowledge these days is more of a tech type deal rather than what it used to be. [bleep] soon general knowledge might even include a programming language.


Well... I was taught HTML and Visual Basic in my high-school in Mexico. I wouldn't doubt they teach other programming languages in other countries. XD

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#7
minhduybk09

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Thanks for share. That's great !! :) :)
______________________________________________

Edited by sari, 06 July 2010 - 07:35 PM.

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#8
epics

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Greki if we continue this conversation are you going to start throwing out wild scenarios like when the world ends in 2012 or the one where computers were supposed to mess up in 2000? The scenario in which "what if we didnt have xxxx" is not a really valid one. If -ANYTHING- advances in technology and google allows MORE people to have access / learn / respond / do things that they couldn't. Example being someone who is horrible at math can learn how to use a tool that would enable them to do the necessary mathematics for whatever their situation is. Someone who is bad at reading could have a program to read to them, and someone who doesn't know how streets work can have their Google maps. Killing general knowledge? Nah, just making it more easily accessible.

This hits me in a funny spot because I made an assumption about an older generation not wanting to share information, vs the younger generation always eager to learn and teach. (Work related, long story, and no offense to anyone).
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#9
dsenette

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But this is trading skill for skill. In the case of the calculator, for example: If kids are allowed to use a calculator from a very young age, then they don't get the real mental practice to reason problems effectively. They'd skip and not master the basics if they use the calculator early on because then they wouldn't have enough practice since they'd probably be advancing at a faster pace than perhaps their maturity could let them absorb.

math and verbal skills and such shouldn't be considered general knowledge. and it's not actually discussed in the original article listed. learning basic math skills (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, exponents etc...) should always be taught. but i wouldn't count them as general knowledge skills. now, i don't know about you but i've never used calculus in real life. on occasion you could suggest that i've used algebra on a semi regular basis, but not advanced algebra. i've never had to factor anything for example. so why should i need to know that by hand? if i can do it with a calculator or the interwebs then it should get me by the one time that i ever need to do it.
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#10
epics

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unfortunately one of the definitions of general knowledge involves lower grade education. which from what I recall is tedious English classes that tell us how things that sound a certain way are spelled completely different, and math classes that show us 500 different ways to deal with a fraction or decimal.

edit: and art class -.- the most annoying of all. (teacher did not believe I was colorblind and would get upset when i would read the colored pencils) God I hated grade school.

Edited by epics, 07 July 2010 - 10:05 AM.

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#11
Greki

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Greki if we continue this conversation are you going to start throwing out wild scenarios like when the world ends in 2012 or the one where computers were supposed to mess up in 2000? The scenario in which "what if we didnt have xxxx" is not a really valid one.


I wouldn't go as far as saying, "the world will end in such and such ways." But really, you don't have to go to those extremes to have those scenarios. Just look at natural disasters; they happen every year in some place or another, no matter whether that place was far into technology or not.... Or can you really tell me that people affected by the Indonesian Tsunami in 2004 had perfect access to computers and google and whatnot?

But anyway, I do agree with you that Google does allow people to learn new skills. It is a wonderful tool that lets us get information on whatever. What concerns me is whether people will actually commit themselves to learn stuff if they start to believe that they'll always have access to internet and computers.

math and verbal skills and such shouldn't be considered general knowledge. and it's not actually discussed in the original article listed. learning basic math skills (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, exponents etc...) should always be taught. but i wouldn't count them as general knowledge skills. now, i don't know about you but i've never used calculus in real life. on occasion you could suggest that i've used algebra on a semi regular basis, but not advanced algebra. i've never had to factor anything for example. so why should i need to know that by hand? if i can do it with a calculator or the interwebs then it should get me by the one time that i ever need to do it.


Hmmm, advanced calculus would probably be used only in specialized fields. And I don't think they'd stop teaching those skills... what I wonder is if they'll start to spend less time on basic skills and knowledge and pass on directly to advanced stuff because there are now tools that cover those basic things.

What would you consider general knowledge?
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#12
dsenette

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Hmmm, advanced calculus would probably be used only in specialized fields. And I don't think they'd stop teaching those skills... what I wonder is if they'll start to spend less time on basic skills and knowledge and pass on directly to advanced stuff because there are now tools that cover those basic things.

What would you consider general knowledge?


well, there's a difference between skills, and knowledge.

knowledge is something you know. and a skill is a process that you can recreate to achieve a desired result and that process can usually be applied in different scenarios when the need arises.

i KNOW that the capitol of the united states is Washington D.C. there's no specific skill or process involved in that knowledge. there's no set criteria of processes that will get me from not knowing that, to knowing it.

i can figure out what x is when the problem is 2 + 2 = X because i've been taught the skill of math. i know that i have to add 2 and 2 to get 4 in that equation. which is a skill, there's a set pattern of processes that you follow to get the answer. i can use the exact same skill to figure out that 243 + 243 = 486. it could be argued that that skill = knowledge, but it doesn't equal general knowledge, it's specific knowledge

i don't think anyone would ever stop teaching basic skills in school (like math, language skills, etc...), but they should put much less focus on general knowledge. when is the last time you needed to know when the battle of Appomattox took place? never that's when, but by golly i had to take a test in the 9th grade and there was a question worth 10 points that asked that very question.

i would have been much better served in school by learning skills as opposed to knowledge. my school didn't have autoshop, woodshop, metalshop, whatevershop classes, we didn't even have computer classes (we had keyboarding, and about 2 months of G-Basic), those are all things that i could use. even if it was just a very condensed course that encompassed all of those areas and just the basics of each.

Edited by dsenette, 07 July 2010 - 03:13 PM.

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#13
Greki

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I do agree with you that having such classes as autoshop, woodshop and metalshop would be far more useful for most people than general knowledge. With your explanation, I realized that general knowledge is actually used as specialized knowledge.

For example, people dealing in national or international affairs, or business, or whatnot, might find history events useful, which could be considered general knowledge. Say, a person intends to introduce any certain product within a certain market... in a ridiculous example, [bleep]-themed T-shirts within a Jewish community. Had the person who intended to do so had previous knowledge on World War II, he would have realized that doing such is a completely non-profitable idea.

And of course World War II is general knowledge, but cannot be really applied unless you know that it will keep you from offending people.

But such cases are far and few in between, and so really, having a chunk of such knowledge in our heads would probably distract us from other knowledge we'd actually make most use of... unless one finds themselves in those situations quite often.
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#14
daeemann

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Just fyi, you WILL NOT pass the Calculus AP test without knowing how to use a graphing calculator. Before calculators were common, people had to spend time looking through several tables just to do basic mathematics involving logarithms, etc. To properly use a graphing calculator you need a deep understanding of mathematics. For example, if you want to graph a polynomial, you may still have to use Newton's Method to find a close approximation to the root and enter it in the calculator. And this is just basic High School mathematics.
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#15
Fenor

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I would say it isn't. I mean you can't learn how to do something until you actually read up on it and learn it. This is how you learn in school, and Google is one of the ways of how people learn outside of school.

I myself would be lost without it, because I love learning new things, and Google is great at doing that!
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